The pride of Western Canada, Manitoba-bred Escape Clause, took full command midway around the far turn en route to a resounding 5 ½-length win and first graded score in Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 La Canada Stakes at Santa Anita. Owned and trained by Don Schnell and ridden by Tyler Baze, Escape Clause, who is believed to be the first Manitoba-bred stakes winner in Santa Anita history, got a mile and one sixteenth over a wet fast main track in 1:41.89.
“I had a beautiful trip. I wasn’t sure really what the other two (horses) were gonna do…They (Stradella Road and True Royalty) went and I just sat there and when I said ‘Go,’ man…she took off with me. When she got the lead, she kind of pulled up a little bit…Down the stretch, she was just galloping…I was hollering ‘Come on mama, keep running!’ She’s amazing.”
A winner of nine consecutive starts, eight of them stakes, dating from June 8 at Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg, Manitoba through a restricted stakes score going one mile on turf at Del Mar on Nov. 9, Escape Clause was most recently a troubled fourth here in the Grade 3 Robert J. Frankel Stakes on Dec. 29.
Off at even money in a field of six older fillies and mares, Escape Clause, who is by the Unbridled’s Song stallion Going Commando and out of the Circulating mare Danger Pay, paid $4.20, $2.80 and $2.40
“She was just built like a horse that was gonna grow up and hopefully be something,” said Schnell in reference to buying Escape Clause as a youngster. “I know we bought other ones that hadn’t panned out, but this was one that (did) and she’s a nice filly. I used to say anytime I got a good horse, I’d like to come to Santa Anita and win a race…And I’m glad I did now.”
In notching her 17th overall stakes win, Escape Clause improved her career mark to 28-19-3-3 and with the winner’s share of $60,000, increased her earnings to $423,500.
Kentucky-bred K P Wildcat, who came west with a stellar resume compiled in New Mexico, rallied from far off the pace to secure second, 2 3/4 lengths clear of Lemoona. Handled by her regular rider Roimes Chirinos, K P Wildcat was off at 5-1 and paid $4.60 and $3.20.
Ridden by Flavien Prat, Lemoona, who finished a half length in front of early leader Stradella Road, was off at 9-2 and paid $3.20 to show.
Fractions on the race were 23.02, 46.25, 1:10.15 and 1:35.17.